Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Laundry, Bigger Than Life

Here's a challenge. Go to a foreign country, ideally one that speaks the same language as you, and do laundry there using a machine. Should be easy right?

I started doing laundry this afternoon thinking I could finish a few loads quickly, and have extra time to go sight seeing. I should have known I wasn't going anywhere today when I thought I started the first load of laundry, and it spun away in the machine...without any water.

How does that happen? How do you tell a WASHING machine to start, and it spins, but doesn't wash anything for a full thirty minutes?

Once I got the washing machine to incorporate water, as it was jostling clothes around inside, I couldn't stop it. It kept washing, and draining, the same poor load of whites over, and over, and over. Finally I stopped the thing, picked out the clothes sopping wet, and tossed everything into the dryer; which, incidentally I set to dry, and waited, while nothing happened. Eventually I just started pressing buttons, and now it's drying. I think.

I've started my second load of wash, while the first mangy bit is drying, and seriously considered stomping out the rest of the wash in the tub. Unfortunately, we don't have any tub to speak of, and I'm not yet desperate enough to attempt washing laundry in the shower.

Throughout all of this I made the mistake of thinking I could multitask. I turned on the boob tube, got sucked into the movie Bigger Than Life, and lost the ability to use domestic machinery. I didn't notice that the washing machine wasn't working because I was so frustrated with the ending of the movie. For those of you who haven't watched this movie, and intend to do so, stop reading at the end of this paragraph. I need to cite specifics of the movie to explain my frustration, and feel the need to do so as a result of being so damn educated. This is what I get for pursuing higher education. Let this be a lesson to school children. Skip college and learn something useful, like how to operate a laundry machine.

 You can watch the full movie in ten parts on Youtube. Below is part 9/10 that I reference.

The premise of Bigger Than Life is that Ed Avery, a schoolteacher played by James Mason, becomes addicted to cortisone. As his addiction progresses he slips into a far reaching madness that makes him critical of societal norms. Eventually he attempts to kill his son, to a backtrack of circus music and after locking his wife in the closet, but a timely friend, played by Walter Matthau, foils the murder.

The next scene opens in the hospital where Ed wakes up after a thirty hour, sedative induced, nap and reconciles with his wife and son. Literally the last frame of the movie is Ed hugging his wife Lou, played by Barbara Rush, and son Richie, played by Christopher Olsen, on his hospital bed. Richie and Lou glow as they smoosh themselves onto Ed's bed, and then the credits run. I was absolutely incredulous. Seriously, that's it?!

What about Ed's decision to divorce Lou?

What about the quizzing marathon that he took Richie on, before he attempted to stab Richie in the face with scissors?

What about the fact that, as the doctor explained to Lou, Ed will always need cortisone, and that it was the cortisone that makes him psychotic?

How can Lou so quickly forget the fact that her husband essentially divorced her, promised her he would eventually kill her then LOCKED HER IN A CLOSET, TRIED TO STAB THEIR SON IN THE FACE, and that it might all happen AGAIN????!?!?!


I couldn't handle all of the questions that the movie brought up so I returned to my laundry, which  was still spinning and not being washed. After messing with the machine, as you read above, I returned to the internet and looked up the movie. Reviewers laud the film for showing the "malaise of the 1950's", and I would argue that it does a better job of showing the all too frustrating return of a "sensible" woman to her bonafide crazypants husband. It reminded me of movies where, usually female, characters open closets or look under beds where there is clear evidence of a serial killer/monster, when they should instead run out the door and never look back.

Marriage is great and everything, but when hubby promises to kill you and tries to shank your kid it's time to lock him up in the loony bin and move onto saner pastures.

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